Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cold Fusion #1 Claims NASA Chief

by Hank Mills 

Dennis Bushnell is a Chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. He is also an inventor, author, and has been a consultant to countless government and military agencies. A few of these include the DOD, Air Force, DARPA, and the NRC. To read a more complete summary of his background, a good review can be found here. Recently, he was interviewed during an EV World podcast. 

A Chief NASA scientist, Dennis Bushnell has came out in support of Andrea Rossi's E-Cat technology, but denies any type of nuclear fusion is taking place, saying it is probably beta decay per the Widom Larson Theory. Repackaging the terminology to avoid embarrassment will not erase over twenty years of suppression and the reality of cold fusion! 

During the show, he addressed what he called "Low Energy Nuclear Reactions" as being the most interesting and promising alternative energy technology being developed. In fact, it was first on his list, ahead of salt water agriculture, cyanobacteria, energy conservation, geothermal power, nano-plastic solar panels, solar thermal concentrators, and high altitude wind power. 

"The most interesting and promising [technology sector] at this point ... [is] low energy nuclear reactions."

Bushnell went on to say that LENR technology could potentially solve all of our energy and climate problems. He stated the technology could be used for any application, including to power rockets for space travel. It is quite refreshing to hear such positive statements, in support of cold fusion, from a mainstream, credible, and respected scientist! 

Actually, I cannot think of any other scientist off the top of my head, that I would have rather made a statement in support of LENR (cold fusion). His extensive scientific background, career history, and status as a Chief NASA scientist make his supportive statements very significant. Hopefully, they will inspire other scientists to take LENR research seriously! I would like to hear a naysayer like Bob Park (who has attacked cold fusion researchers for 20 years) try to criticize him for his comments.

During the interview, Bushnell specifically mentioned Andrea Rossi's E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) technology, and seemed very supportive of it. He reviewed the tests that have been performed and the large amount of excess heat produced. At one point he made a remark scientists across the world should notice... 

"I think we are almost over the "we do not understand it" problem. I think we are almost over the "this does not produce anything useful" problem. I think this will go forward fairly rapidly now. If it does, this is capable of, by itself, completely changing geo-economics, geo-politics, and solving climate issues."

Despite his positive statements about LENR, he also made a few statements that indicate his lack of ability to admit that nuclear fusion at low temperatures could be a reality. He stated that all of the so called, "cold fusion" experiments performed over the last twenty years did not produce fusion reactions. His position is that they produced energy via a process called "Widom Larsen" theory, that does not involve fusion at all, but only "beta decay."

They Dare Not Call It Fusion

Fusion is the process in which two atoms collide, merge or "fuse" together, and form another element. During the process, a large amount of energy is released. The problem is that achieving fusion can be difficult, due to electrostatic repulsion. This electrostatic wall that prevents fusion reactions is called the, "Coulomb Barrier." The star in the center of our solar system produces fusion reactions by using millions of degrees of heat. With enough heat, the atoms are smashing into each other with so much force the Coulomb Barrier can be broken. This is what mainstream scientists call "hot fusion."

Cold Fusion, is a phenomenon in which atoms can fuse together and release energy at much lower temperatures. Instead of millions of degrees, the reactions can take place at temperatures as low as a few hundred of degrees. Somehow, in cold fusion setups such as those of Andrea Rossi's, the Coulomb Barrier is apparently somehow being penetrated. There are many ideas and theories about the possible mechanisms that allows this barrier to be broken, allowing fusion reactions happen at such low energy levels. 

Many of the theories have similar themes. Quite a few involve a proton from a hydrogen atom being made "invisible", being shielded, or made electrostatically neutral by an electron. In other theories, hydrogen atoms are shrunken and turned into mini-atoms or "virtual neutrons." Basically, in these theories the protons and their electrons (in some kind of altered form) do not experience the full repulsion of the Coulomb barrier, or are able to quantum tunnel through it. After they penetrate the barrier, a transmutation occurs in the metal (the atom gains a proton) and a large amount of energy is released. The end result is nuclear fusion at low temperatures. 

The "Widom Larsen" theory is just another variation of the above. In the theory, an exotic type electron called a "heavy surface plasmon polariton" combines with a proton to form an, "ultra low momentum neutron." This neutron can then penetrate the Coulomb barrier of an atom of nickel (or other metal) to produce transmutations and release energy. Its proponents claim that this theory does not violate any "laws" of physics, and is not nuclear fusion. 

However, I propose that "Widom Larsen" is a form of nuclear fusion, just like the other theories. The only difference is that it uses a few more fancy names for exotic sub atomic particles. Just like many of the other theories, the following set of events take place according to "Widom Larsen" theory.

- A shrunken or mini-hydrogen atom, virtual neutron, or a proton shielded by an electron sneak past the Coulomb barrier of another atom.

- A transmutation into a heavier element can take place.

- A large release of energy takes place.

This is indeed a fusion reaction, but the "Widom Larsen" proponents still try to argue otherwise. They claim that true "nuclear fusion" can only occur if a proton is pushed through the Coulomb barrier when the full repulsion is felt. Anything else, they claim, is a "neutron capture" event. 

The first thing untenable about that is they claim an "ultra low momentum neutron" is composed of a proton and electron. If it is composed of a proton and electron (just pretending to be a neutron) how can it be a neutron capture event? For example, if I catch a dog dressed up like a cat, I really caught a dog. I did not really catch a cat! However, they want you to believe a dog dressed up like a cat, is really a cat! 

The second thing untenable about their assertion is they claim that fusion cannot be taking place unless the full repulsion of the Coulomb barrier is felt. They go to the dictionary, and produce the following definitions.

- Neutron Capture involves a single particle, such as a neutron, with no electric charge entering a nucleus.

- Nuclear Fusion involves two nuclei having like-charges that overcome electromagnetic forces (the Coulomb barrier).

Basically, they try to claim that if you find a way to make a nuclei or proton sneak into another atom (without using lots of energy to bypass the Coulomb barrier) you have cheated, and you have not produced nuclear fusion. 

For example, did you "climb" a wall if you used a ladder? The "Widom Larsen" supporters say you did not "climb" the wall unless you scaled it by hand! Using a ladder was cheating! According to them you did not climb the wall, but only "went over it." 

They want to call your success something less than what it was, because you found a smarter/faster way to do it! 

However, regardless how you got over the wall, the end result is the same. You are on the other side! The same is true with Cold Fusion and LENR (which they claim is only neutron capture and not fusion). The fact is, fusion happened regardless of the method by which you got the proton/electron/neutron into the atom's nucleus!

In reality, there may be some sort of Widom-Larsen "like" phenomenon taking place in Andrea Rossi's cold fusion technology, and others. However, I doubt that the entire theory is correct. To be blunt, I doubt any of the current cold fusion theories are 100% correct, but the seeming fact is fusion is occurring! 

Any theory that claims that taking an atom, putting all or part of it into the nucleus of another atom, transmuting the second atom into another element, and releasing energy in the process is anything other than *some* kind of fusion, is total nonsense. It defies logic and rationality!

Hiding the Legacy of Suppression

The main reasons I think many mainstream scientists like Bushnell and the "Widom Larsen" supporters want to abolish the term Cold Fusion, deny the obvious truth fusion is taking place, and claim only LENR neutron capture is taking place is as follows.

First, they have to do "something" to make themselves "stand out." By shouting their "Widom Larsen" theory they can avoid the "stigma" of the term cold fusion, they can make it seem they have a special theory better than all the others, and they can claim they are not producing fusion at low temperatures (which is still heresy in their opinion). 

Secondly, by naming the emerging technology "LENR" or "neutron capture", they can possibly avoid the history of cold fusion being brought up. If the history of cold fusion is brought up, it makes the mainstream scientific community look like a bunch of evil, greedy monsters and ignorant fools. Cold fusion has been suppressed for over 20 years, and they do not want the history of that suppression being a focus of the media's attention. They would rather give it a new name and a non-fusion explanation. That way, their dirty little secret can be kept hidden. The population of the world is going to be angry when they realize that we could have had practical cold fusion many years ago, if not for those who put their own interests ahead of the good of mankind! 

Finally, if something as "impossible" as Cold Fusion becomes a reality, then it raises the question anew about what other technologies the scientific community deemed "impossible" might actually be possible after all. Anti-gravity, free energy, and faster than light space travel are all considered by the mainstream to be science fiction, but in the post cold fusion world that paradigm would be shattered (for political reasons more than scientific). By not using the term "Cold Fusion", it may be easier for the scientific community to down play the significance of this technology actually existing when they previously said it was impossible, claim that they never were involved in suppressing it, and convince the masses it does not represent damning proof of the failure of mainstream science on something so fundamental.


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